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The defense argues that because online communications are meant to be read and not spoken, reading the messages aloud could add a "dimension that did not exist for either the creator or the recipient."
"Any inflection added by speaking—or even no inflection at all—distorts the medium and unavoidably creates an impression perhaps different from that intended by the creator of the communication, and/or from that of the recipient, who read that communication and in many instances responded," states Joshua L. Dratel, Ulbricht's defense attorney, in a letter to the judge on Friday.
Dratel also noted in his letter to the judge that there are written forms that cannot be accurately conveyed orally. This might include emoticons, a series of question marks and distortions of words (i.e. "soooo"), he said.
The request is one that Hanni Fakhoury, an attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said he has never witnessed.
"I've never seen a request like that, and I suppose it makes some sense; the real issue is the context of online speech and how that can be different than physical speech and putting undue emphasis on certain points. It's an interesting motion," Fakhoury said.
CNBC reached out to the U.S. Attorney's Office and was told the judge has not yet made a ruling on whether she will allow the request to be granted.
—By CNBC's Cadie Thompson.